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SOC 4650 & 5650 - Introduction to Geographic Information Science

Next Offered Spring 2020

I teach Intro to GIS at both the undergraudate and graduate levels in a combined classroom, meaning that the course has a range of students from freshmen all the way to Ph.D. levels. Like my statistics course, Intro to GIS is built around a number of common data science tools and is designed to give students a solid grounding in modern scientific computing regardless of their background. ArcGIS is the primary spatial software package used for this course. We also use R for data cleaning and manipulation as well as initial mapping.

Techniques introduced include data cleaning and management, map production and cartography, and the manipulation of both tabular and spatial data. The impacts of GIS on public policy, and the effects of public policy on GIS, are also discussed.

The course incorporates a wide variety of social, economic, health, urban, meteorological, and environmental data. We map these data at a variety of extents, from the City of St. Louis to the St. Louis Metropolitan region, Missouri, all United States counties, and all U.S. states. The course’s final project requires students to map a subset of a large (~740,000 observation) dataset of St. Louis City Citizens’ Service Bureau requests.

Course Website Course Syllabus

Christopher Prener
Assistant Professor of Sociology